Obituary: Henry Theodore “Ted” Berglund
October 12, 1946 – December 12, 2023
Henry Theodore “Ted” Berglund III passed away at home in Birmingham on December 12, 2023. Ted was born in New Jersey on October 12, 1946 to Henry Theodore Berglund Jr. and Patricia Mace Berglund. He had two younger brothers, Steve and Dan. His father, known as “Hank”, served in the 101st Airborne during WWII. He developed an impressive business career in finance. Mother Pat worked as an executive assistant throughout her life and also fought her way back from a brain tumor when Ted and his middle brother were still young. She had to re-learn how to walk and talk after her surgery and recovery while raising two rambunctious boys. The family moved to Northbrook, Illinois while Ted was in elementary school. He graduated from Northbrook High School in 1964, competing on the swim team while there.
Ted attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, graduating in 1968 with a BS in biology, and while there he met his first wife, Peggy Bass. They were married after graduation and had three children, Julie, Margaret, and Henry Theodore “Teddy” IV, all of whom survive him.
Ted had a long and varied business career. He began after college as a trainee at First American National Bank in Nashville, eventually progressing to running that bank’s international agricultural lending portfolio. After a time, though, he wanted to be more involved in the day to day activities of operating a business and so, after leaving First American, he spent the remainder of his career variously founding, investing in, acquiring, running or consulting with companies engaged in a wide range of activities. Among these were retail businesses, oil and gas exploration and development, a company that acquired and resold new and recycled metal wire and cabling, one of the earliest entrants in the deregulated long distance telecommunications business (which ultimately became part of Verizon), a manufacturer of concrete construction products, an industrial hardware reseller, and a company involved in developing alternative energy projects. These ventures led him over the years to live or spend extended time in Nashville; Tampa, Florida; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Steamboat Springs and Denver, Colorado (where he met his wife Sandy, who survives him).
Ted’s final business venture-the one he was most proud of-began after he moved to Birmingham when he was retained by the owners of a struggling company in Miami, Florida that designed, manufactured and installed foam industrial insulation products to determine if their investment in the business was salvageable. He proposed a new product and marketing plan for the company focusing on what he perceived as an undervalued segment of the company’s product market, low temperature/cryogenic pipe insulation, and was then hired by the owners to be the company’s CEO and implement the plan. Over the ensuing years, Ted commuted between Birmingham and Miami as he revamped the business. During this time, he built a strong management team infused with the characteristic high energy and optimism he brought to every activity in his life, and the company became known in the industry for the quality of its products and its emphasis on customer service. The owners supported Ted in these efforts, but eventually decided it was time to sell the company and offered him the opportunity to buy it, which he did. Thereafter, he continued to further develop the business for several more years into the preeminent firm in its market until selling it in 2021 to an international construction products company when he decided it was finally time to retire.
Ted’s life was not centered solely on business, however. Throughout his life, Ted enthusiastically pursued many outdoor recreational activities. Among the highlights of Ted’s childhood were the camping and canoeing trips with his brothers often chaperoned by his dad. When the boys got too rowdy in the car, Hank was known to pull the car over and make them run up the side of a road cut or steep hill until they settled down. During his years in Nashville, he enjoyed spending time on the family farm outside of town where he took up horseback riding and taught his daughters to ride. While in Nashville he also took up golf and developed his love of bird hunting and shooting sports. He became an avid skier during those same years as well, which he continued after moving to Colorado and where he also became a passionate, if not always successful, fly fisherman. Ted loved to share these activities with family and friends, and has passed many of these passions on to his three children, who are sharing them with their children.
The outdoors was more than just a passionate hobby for Ted: it was the lens through which he saw life. He believed that if you don’t mess too much with things, they will work themselves out. Moving from Denver and Steamboat Springs, Colorado to Birmingham, Alabama severely curtailed his opportunities to leave work and quickly be in the outdoors. He did, however, find ways to put himself in places where that could happen.
Ted joined Old Overton Country Club in Birmingham where he could continue improving his golf score. Although very competitive, he said it was never really just about the score, but rather the friendship and comradery of the golfers at the club. Great friendships were developed Old Overton. In Birmingham, Ted found what was to become one of his most enjoyed weekend activities. Southern Skeet and Trap Club gave him a place to go where other like-minded shooters gathered on weekends to hone their bird hunting skills or simply break clay targets. It pleased Ted to see the club expand and improve over the years. It was there that Ted met and made friends with a few people who became very special friends to him.
Ted found many ways to continue his outdoor loves by traveling to Colorado, Montana, Alaska and Canada for skiing, hiking, biking and fishing. He traveled annually to Argentina to hunt birds and fly fish. He treasured the trip with his children to the Canadian Boundary Waters for paddle and fishing adventures.
Traveling to varied places to explore the outdoors was just a part of Ted’s love to travel, which he did voraciously: Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico, Central America, Argentina, nearly every country in Europe. He said he thought the best adventure was one that he and Sandy had a few years ago in Istanbul, where they bought a rug they swore they would not buy this trip. It became a good story.
When Ted and Sandy moved to Birmingham they enjoyed becoming part of the community and supported its growth and improvement by attending events, giving their time and making donations to further cherished causes. Ted believed giving was an ongoing responsibility for those who benefit from living in a community. His list for annual remembrance illustrates the things he holds dear: Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Trout Unlimited, Friends of the Botanical Gardens of Birmingham, Mitchell’s Place, FoodBank of Central Alabama, Birmingham Art Museum, Opera Birmingham, Alabama Symphony, Mason’s Widows and Orphans Fund, Junior League of Birmingham, Shriner’s Hospital, P.E.O. of Alabama, University of Alabama Hospital, Vanderbilt University. In 2023 Ted and Sandy made a major contribution to the Bruno Cancer Center at Saint Vincent Hospital which allowed the clinic to replace an aging scanner used for Cancer detection.
Ted is survived by his wife Sandy (Swetkovich-Berglund), son Henry T.”Ted” Berglund IV (Sophie), daughter Julia Dillon Fredericks (Chris) and daughter Margaret Mace Maginness (Alex). In addition, he is survived by brother Dan (Laura) grandchildren Zachary, Dillon, Savannah, Aubrielle, Bixby and Hank, nephews Nicholas, Thad, Eric and niece Jennifer.
A memorial service for Ted will be held on Friday, February 2, 2024 at Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church, 3736 Montrose Road, Birmingham, Alabama 35213. Visitation at 10:00am, Service at 11:00.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the St. Luke’s Foundation, 3736 Montrose Road, Birmingham, Alabama 35213 or the Bruno Cancer Fund through the Ascension St Vincent’s Foundation at stvfoundation.org.
The family would love to receive notes that include fond memories of Ted to share with the children and grandchildren.
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